The State is willing to invite investors to run government-owned tourism properties that are not doing good business, Minister for Tourism R.V. Deshpande has said.

After inaugurating the three-day Indian Travel Congress here on Friday, organised by the Travel Agents Association of India, the Minister said governments “have no business to run businesses.”

Relaxation sought

Detailing the initiatives taken by the government to encourage tourism, the Minister said Karnataka recently approached the Union Ministry of Environment seeking relaxation of regulations that do not permit resorts to come up within 200 metres of the coastline. “Karnataka has 32 beaches and 11 islands along its 320–km coastline, which need to be developed for tourism,” he said.

The State government had taken up several initiatives to improve infrastructure and human resource to help the tourism sector. The department was in talks with universities to introduce short-terms courses to add human resource to the travel industry, Mr. Deshpande, who is also Minister for Higher Education, said.

Visa on arrival

Visa-on-arrival facility has been introduced at the Bangalore airport to nationals of 11 countries, he said, and added that 23 more countries were likely to be added to the list soon.

Tourism policy

Mr. Deshpande said the vision group comprising eminent citizens was giving final touches to the tourism policy and it would be submitted to the government soon. Karnataka stands fourth in the country in attracting domestic travellers and ninth in terms of attracting international travellers, he added.

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